1. With the Federal Government set to run out of funding at midnight on January 19th, leadership of both parties have been working throughout the recess in order to reach a deal on a number of “must pass” pieces of legislation. Rank and file House lawmakers will have a small window to deal with the looming legislative logjam after deciding to come back to town a week after McConnell reconvenes the Senate. First up on lawmakers’ to-do list is to reach a bipartisan agreement on boosting budget caps and preventing sequestration. Once a budget deal is enacted, appropriators can start negotiations on the “omnibus” package that would fund the entire federal government through next September.
NECA’s Look Ahead: After meeting with White House officials on January 3, Republican and Democratic leadership have still not agreed on a deal to lift budgetary spending limits on defense and domestic spending, which may force them to seek yet another short term continuing resolution. That move would guarantee funding to avert an election-year government shutdown.Additionally, the Senate still needs to take up the NECA-supported $81 billion aid package H.R. 4667, Disaster Aid Package., which passed the House in a 251-169 vote before Christmas recess.
2. The long-awaited rollout for the introduction of the NECA-supported composite plan pension reform bill will finally take place on January 9. The event, hosted by Representatives Phil Roe (R-TN) and Donald Norcross (D-NJ), will consist of a small roundtable with participating contractors and labor groups accompanied by limited press. This joint meeting will give NECA and others the ability to show how these plans are not only viable options for the future but are increasingly becoming more necessary for a plan’s safety. Tell Congress that this legislation must be passed as soon as possible.
NECA’s Look Ahead: NECA has pushed hard for the introduction of this legislation and looks forward to advocating for its swift passage following this rollout. The appetite for pension reform has grown on Capitol Hill as we have positioned composite plans as a moderate, informed, and low-cost method for protecting the future of responsible defined benefit plans.
3. We are hearing that the Trump Administration is seriously weighing a recommendation by the U.S. International Trade Commission that would impose "safeguards," such as NECA-opposed tariffs or import quotas, on imported solar photovoltaic cells and modules. The Administration is in its final week of deliberation whether to adopt one of the commission’s recommendations, do something else altogether, or nothing at all before the January 26 deadline. Officially, President Trump has yet to announce any a decision.
NECA’s Look Ahead: NECA is continuing to weigh in with Congressional Leadership and the Administration. It remains unclear what the President will ultimately decide on the issue.